<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Richard Drew/AP

Taylor Swift surpasses million mark, the only question is by how much

Set could bypass Lil Wayne and possibly 50 Cent and Garth Brooks

We won’t get the official numbers until Wednesday, but sources are saying that Taylor Swift’s  third album, “Speak Now,” will definitely surpass the million mark in its first week of release.

That means it will be the best seller, for sure, since Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” sold  1,006,000 in its first week in June 2008, according to Billboard,  it could also possibly be bigger than 50 Cent’s “The Massacre,” which moved 1,141,000 units in March 2005. She could also set the mark for the best-selling first week for a country artist. Garth Brooks' "Double Live" current holds the record at 1,085,000.

Hits Daily Double suggests that Swift’s album will set another record in terms of total percentage of overall sales:  “Speak Now” will account for as much as 18% of all sales for the week.  The previous record belongs to NSYNC, whose “No Strings Attached”  accounted for 15.3% of total sales. To put things into perspective, “No Strings Attached” sold 2.4 million copies in its first week.

In all likelihood, as album sales continue to decline, “Speak Now” will be the last album to go into seven figures. The only possible  set coming up that could also sell more than 1 million the first week is Lady Gaga’s new album, slated for the first quarter, 2011.

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<p>Mariah Carey</p>

Mariah Carey

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Mariah Carey, Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Brad Paisley lead Nov. 2 releases

Good Charlotte and Huey Lewis also return

Taylor Swift can rest easy. While there are some lovely offerings out Nov. 2, no new release will snare the top spot. Having said that,  country stars Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean lead the charge, while veterans Elvis Costello and Neil Diamond also bring new albums.

Jason Aldean, “My Kinda Party” (Broken Bow): The ACM’s top new male vocalist, best known for such hits as “She’s Country” and “Hicktown,” returns with his latest set that includes a duet with Kelly Clarkson.

Black Dub, “Black Dub” (Jive): Eclectic quartet led by producer/artist Daniel Lanois springs all over the rock landscape with touches of soul and dub. Foursome also includes Trixie Whitley, the daughter of the late musician, Chris Whitley.

Mariah Carey, ”Merry Christmas II You” (Island Def Jam): While Carey takes care of her impending baby bundle, she delivers another gift for her lambs: her second Christmas album features four originals alongsidemore traditional fare such as “The First Noel,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Elvis Costello
, “National Ransom” (Concord/Hear Music): Costello recorded this 16-tune album in Los Angeles and Nashville with producer T Bone Burnett.  Both The Imposters and The Sugarcanes back up Costello here, while guests include Vince Gill and Leon Russell.

Neil Diamond
, “Dreams” (Columbia): A great songwriter turns to his favorite songwriters for a collection of Diamond’s favorite tunes. Making the cut are The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” The Eagles’ “Desperado,”  and several others.

Brian Eno, “Small Craft on a Milk Sea” (Warp): The latest from the ambient music genius comes in a multitude of configurations, but the focus is on music created by Eno with collaborators Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams. The inspiration was film scores.


Good Charlotte, “Cardiology” (Capitol): Ten years after its debut, Good Charlotte--otherwise known as the Madden Bros., return with their first album in a few years and their debut disc for Capitol.

Huey Lewis and the News, “Soulsville” (W.O.W.): Lewis and his band release their first album in nine years as they look back at 14 classic songs from the Stax Records’ vault first made famous by the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and Isaac Hayes.

Matt and Kim, “Sidewalks” (Fader): Hipster duo known for their energetic live show releases its third set of dance punk.

Paul McCartney & Wings, "Band on the Run"  (Hear Music)  Wings' 1973 masterwork gets the deluxe reissue treatment complete with new tracks and a DVD. A must for McCartney fans.

N.E.R.D., “Nothing” (Interscope): Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo and Shae Haley release their fourth effort, which gets its groove on and draws inspiration from such acts as The Doors and America.
 

Brad Paisley, “Hits Alive” (Arista Nashville): Talent country superstar’s new two-disc set features studio versions of many of this biggest hits, while disc two captures his live performances of three of the songs on disc one, as well as a number of other hits that take flight in a concert setting.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Richard Drew/AP

Chart preview: Taylor Swift leads the Billboard 200 over Sugarland by how much?

Has there ever been a bigger gap between No. 1 and No. 2?

Will she or won’t she hit the million mark? That’s the only question remaining regarding Taylor Swift’s entry at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week. 

The country queen’s “Speak Now”  is on target to sell between 975,000 and 1 million, according to Hits Daily Double.  Her nearest competitor is the current No. 1, Sugarland’s “The Incredible Machine,” which will sell one/tenth of “Speak Now.” That has to be the highest disparity between No. 1 and No. 2 that we’ve ever seen.

This week’s No. 2, Kings of Leon’s “Come Around Sundown,” slips to No. 3, while this week’s No. 3, Elton John and Leon Russell’s “ The Union” slides to No. 7.

For the first time in a long time, there are likely to be only two debuts in the top 10, as Michael Buble’s “Hollywood: The Deluxe EP” should come in at No. 10, although The Band Perry could surge and knock him to No. 11.

The rest of the Top 10 includes Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not a Human Being” continues doing well a few weeks after release, lodging at No. 4, while this year’s top seller so far, Eminem’s “Recovery,” hangs in there at No. 5.



 

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<p>Meredith Veira dressed as Lady Gaga for Halloween on the &quot;Today&quot; show, Oct. 29</p>

Meredith Veira dressed as Lady Gaga for Halloween on the "Today" show, Oct. 29

Credit: AP Photo

Music Power Rankings: Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga battle it out for world supremacy

Michael Jackson and Garth Brooks also make the list

Is it really any surprise to find Tay-Tay at the top of the leader board this week? Has there been any other story than can the country-crossover pop princess be the first artist to hit the million mark since 2008? Well, we found a few others, Taylor Swift's reign begins anew as we predict the album become the top seller of the year, surpassing Eminem's "Recovery." 

1. Taylor Swift (last week, No. 4): A beautifully orchestrated marketing campaign, a strong album, an artist who is still gaining fans = the first album to potentially sell 1 million in one week in years AND most likely, the very last.

2. Lady Gaga (not ranked):
  She becomes the first artist to register 1 billion views on YouTube beating Justin Bieber and his band of Beliebers to the record. Who knew all her Little Monsters had opposable thumbs and internet connections.

3. Michael Jackson (not ranked):
  The gloved one tops Forbes Richest Dead Celebrity list with grosses (perfect word)  of $275 million.As the cynical saying goes, “Death is a good career move.”

4. Madonna (not ranked): 
The material girl is opening Hard Candy Fitness, a chain of gyms around the world, starting with Mexico City  in November. Really? Strike a pose.

5. Garth Brooks (not ranked): Who else can get the all the entire political machinery from Nashville mayor to the two U.S. senators to come out for a press conference to announce a concert for flood relief?  He’s the ultimate Tennessee Titan via Oklahoma

6. Take That (not ranked): British boy band’s first tour in 15 years crashes U.K. ticketing sites with Ticketmaster calling the demand twice as high as it was for Michael Jackson’s “This is It” tour.  There’s a good Robbie Williams joke in there somewhere, I just don’t have it.

7. U2 (not ranked): The Irish boys make plans to return to Nashville for the first time in 29 years to play Vanderbilt Stadium.  By the time the 360 tour wraps next year, Billboard predicts it will be the highest grossing tour of all time. Maybe by then it will have broken even.

8. The Foo Fighters (not ranked): The group’s seventh album, not out until next year, is already building a huge buzz because it reunites Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic for the first time since they cut Nirvana’s last song in 1993 and pairs the two with “Nevermind” producer Butch Vig.  This little nugget of good news fits perfectly into my heart-shaped box.

9. CitiGroup (not ranked):
As the trial between Citi Group and EMI owner Terra Firma heats up, the New York judge deals Terra Firma a horrific blow by disallowing Terra Firma to seek $6.4 billion in damages based on a speculative theory of lost profits. Will the four major label companies be reduced to three within six months? Some of us actually remember when there were six.

10. Technology (not ranked):  Sony stops making the Walkman and Panasonic quits manufacturing the Technics turntable.  My 10-year old self just died a little  inside.

Music Power Rankings appear every Friday.

Last week's list

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<p>Adele</p>

Adele

Credit: Columbia

Sneak Preview: Adele unveils new songs and Hitfix was there

Tunes showcase the tracks of her tears

The last we heard from Adele, she was carting around two well-deserved Grammys for her wins for best new artist and best female pop vocal performance.

That was nearly two years ago and the “Chasing Pavements” singer has been fairly quiet since then, but Hitfix got a sneak listen to four songs from her forthcoming album at a very intimate, invite-only performance by the British singer at Los Angeles’ Largo Theater.

With a red-velvet backdrop and surrounded by antique lamps, an admittedly nervous Adele previewed four songs from her second still-untitled album that comes out in February.

 First single, “Rolling in the Deep,” goes to radio in mid-November and will coincide with an appearance on “Ellen.”  The melodic and beat-heavy thumper showcases a side of Adele not heard on “19,” one influenced by her exposure to Wanda Jackson, the pioneering country and rockabilly star. “I really got into her,” Adele said, admitting a little obsession with the singer.

Like “Rolling,” the other three songs dealt with heartache. Adele’s lyrics are like an open wound, still smarting and raw, delivered in her pure soprano that cuts through any clutter and soars above the notes.

On ballad “Someone Like You,” she sings about a past love who has found someone else. She’s trying to be happy for him, but is blinded by her inability to move on as she tries to find someone like him over and over again. “I’m shaking,” she said after performing the song accompanied only by a pianist. “I get upset whenever I sing it.”

Adele recorded much of the album in Malibu and recalled how Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” saturated the airwaves as she was in the studio. “ I really got into it,” she said, adding that she’s thinking of going to Nashville for some writing sessions.  We’re holding our breath for an “Adele in Nashville” album (yes, all references to “Dusty in Memphis” are intentional).  While  the torchy “Don’t You Remember” recalls Lady A, the song is vintage Adele as she admits to  “A fickle heart, a bitterness, a wandering eye and a heaviness in my head,” but she begs her ex, “dont u remember the reason you loved me before?”

Adele collaborated with hitmaker OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder on two tracks including “Turning Tables,” a ballad about a fighting couple. “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me,” Adele sang, eyes closed, fingers fluttering.

She closed with “Pavements” and “Hometown Glory,” which the now 22-year old wrote when she was 16.  The small crowd wanted more, but she begged off. “My voice has been dormant for months, it’s pissed off at me” for putting if back to work, she said.  Her voluminous voice sounded perfect to us in this very welcome return.

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<p>Lady Antebellum</p>

Lady Antebellum

Watch: Lady Antebellum’s new video for ‘Hello World’

Bring some tissues

In Lady Antebellum’s soulful ballad, “Hello World,”  lead singer Charles Kelley details  a world that so many of us exist in, but aren’t really a part of. We’re so busy checking our cell phones, frustrated at the traffic jam and stressed about work that we’re not paying attention to the beauty that is around us.  And we’re in some kind of psychic pain because of it.

But then something comes along, it can be a giggling child, a beautiful rainbow or a gorgeous sunset that gently tugs you back to the present and a state of gratitude.  In this case, it’s an adorable little girl, enjoying an ice cream cone in the backseat of an SUV, waving to people in other cars like we all did when we were small. Flash to the front seat and her parents are bickering.

The trio, using the always popular trope of  performing on a rain-slicked, dark street in the middle of the city, adopts the proper somber tone as events take a tragic turn.

We’re not going to give away the ending, but it’s a bit heavy handed. However, be sure to watch until the ending for the twist.  Plus, we’re feeling a bit bad for the dad, who gets carted away here and forgotten about.

 

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: ap photo

Far East Movement and Taylor Swift make strides on the Billboard Hot 100

Willow Smith whips her way on to the chart

The Far* East Movement doesn’t move at all this week as it marks its second week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Like a G6.” The tune, featuring Cataracs and the Dev, also returns to No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart.

And Taylor Swift just keeps setting records on the chart. “Mean,” from “Spean Now,” debuts at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it three weeks in a row that Swifty has claimed Hot Shot Debut honors. No one else has ever done that before (it will be interesting to see if we see more superstars deploying her set up of releasing one track a week to iTunes a few weeks before that album’s release).

Other sparkling debuts include Willow Smith who whips her way to N0. 78 with her first single, “Whip My Hair.” Billboard notes that she is the second offspring of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to hit the Hot 100 this year as Willow’s big brother Jaden peaked at No. 33 this summer with his duet with Justin Bieber on “Never Say Never. “

Look for Katy Perry to bring her third single from “Teenage Dream” to the Hot 100 next week, as “Firework” bows at No. 29 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 chart.

Finally, while we’re certain that Cee Lo’s “F*** You” may top many critic’s polls for the hot single of the year, climbing to No. 17 was the best the song (and its clean version, “Forget You”) could muster on the Hot 100. 

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<p>Ke$ha</p>

Ke$ha

Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Usher and Elvis star on 'Now 36' hit compilation

Latest edition of multi-artist hit collection also features Adam Lambert, Daughtry and many more

“Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 36,” the latest in the never-ending collection of current pop hits, will street on Nov. 9 with a new feature.

A few editions back, “Now” added a “Now What’s Next” slot for tracks from emerging acts. Now, for the first time, the compilations will also include a “Now Flashback” track.  The first will be Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”  And in what we’re sure is a total coincidence,  “Now 36” comes with info on how to enter a contest to win a trip to Vegas to see “Viva Elvis by Cirque du Soleil” at that Aria Hotel.

The “Now What’s Next” tracks from “36” come from The Secret Sisters, Sick Puppies, and Free Energy.

NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 36  track listing:

1.  Katy Perry                                                          Teenage Dream
2.  Usher (feat. Pitbull)                                             DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love
3.  Ke$ha                                                                 Take It Off
4.  Adam Lambert                                                    If I Had You
5.  Taio Cruz                                                            Dynamite
6.  Nelly                                                                   Just A Dream
7.  Chris Brown (feat. Tyga & Kevin McCall)           Deuces
8.  B.o.B (feat. Rivers Cuomo)                                Magic
9.  David Guetta                                                      Memories (feat. Kid Cudi)
10. Maroon 5                                                           Misery
11. Neon Trees                                                        Animal
12. OneRepublic                                                      Secrets
13. Sara Bareilles                                                    King Of Anything
14. Paramore                                                           The Only Exception
15. Daughtry                                                            September
16. Sugarland                                                          Stuck Like Glue


BONUS TRACKS: “NOW What’s Next” New Music Preview
17. Sick Puppies                                                     Maybe
18. Free Energy                                                      Bang Pop
19. The Secret Sisters                                           Tennessee Me

BONUS TRACK: “NOW Flashback”
Elvis Presley                                                           Suspicious Minds

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<p>Jon Bon Jovi</p>

Jon Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi sets 2011 North American tour dates

Are they playing at your house?

The sun never sets on a Bon Jovi. We think Jon, Richie and the other ones (okay, we kid, David and Tico) have been tour continuously since 1980. They just keep circling the globe over and over.

So we’re not surprised that more Bon Jovi dates have been announced  for 2011, in support of the band’s “Greatest Hits” set that comes out Nov. 9.  As we previously wrote, “Bon Jovi--The Circle Tour” will play in movie theaters across the land on Nov. 8. Additionally, the band will appear on “The Today Show,” Nov. 12;  A&E’s “Private Sessions,” Nov. 17; “The American Music Awards,” Nov. 21 (see other performers here); “Larry King Live,” Nov. 22; “Ellen,” Nov. 23 and CNN’s “Heroes,” Nov. 25.  These Jersey Boys are hard workers.


Below are the 2011 North American tour dates:

February 9                     State College, PA          Bryce Jordan Center                
February 11                   Pittsburgh, PA               Consol Energy Center  
February 14                   Toronto, ON                  Air Canada Centre                   
February 18                   Montreal, QB                 Bell Centre                              
February 21                   Raleigh, NC                  RBC Center                            
February 24                   New York City, NY        Madison Square Garden           
February 25                   New York City, NY        Madison Square Garden           
February 27                   Washington, DC            Verizon Center                        
March 1                        Boston, MA                   TD Garden                              
March 2                        Philadelphia, PA            Wells Fargo Center                  
March 4                        Uncasville, CT              Mohegan Sun Arena                 
March 8                        Chicago, IL                   United Center                                                  
March 17                       San Antonio, TX            AT&T Center                           
March 19                       Las Vegas, NV              MGM Grand Garden Arena                                           
March 22                       Salt Lake City, UT         EnergySolutions Arena
March 25                       Vancouver, BC              Rogers Arena  

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<p>Carrie Underwood</p>

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney headlining Stagecoach 2011

Spring bill also includes Loretta Lynn, Leon Russell and Wanda Jackson

Stagecoach will wheel back into town for the fifth consecutive year with Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood as headliners.

The country music festival that takes place a week or two after  Coachella on Indio, Calif.’s  Empire Polo Club grounds, will also features Loretta Lynn, Darius Rucker and Josh Turner at the April 30-May 1 fest.      

Tickets, which are $99 for a two-day pass, go on sale Nov. 5.  There are also a variety of packages include camping options.

The Stagecoach line-up as of today (with more acts to be added) is: Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Loretta Lynn, Josh Turner, Chris Young, Leon Russell, Easton Corbin, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas Trio, Gatlin Brothers, Jack Ingram, Mel Tillis, Rodney Crowell, Rhonda Vincent, Secret Sisters, Steel Magnolia, Joanna Smith, Wanda Jackson, Stealing Angels, The Gourds, Rosie Flores, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Sara Watkins, The Cleverlys, Phosphorescent, The Punch Brothers and Truth & Salvage Co.

Leon Russell will be playing as a solo act, after his successful tour with Elton John promoting their new album, "The Union."  Also, if you have the chance to see living legends Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson (whom both share Jack White as a producer), you shouldn’t pass that up.
             

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